A handful of Democratic senators representing Trump Country will be put to the test on Wednesday when the Senate holds hearings on two of the president's federal court nominees.
Over the course of President Trump's first six months in office, Democrats have united under the banner of resisting his entire agenda, fearful of creating any ties to an unpopular president that could provoke the party's base or haunt them in future elections. But while Democrats in states that voted for Trump last November will likely seek to pitch themselves to voters as centrists with bipartisan records come 2018, many voted in lockstep with President Barack Obama on judicial nominees during his time in office. Voting to oppose Trump's nominees with the same consistency they voted to approve Obama's could make that case difficult in states Trump won.
According to a study of their records, a number of Democratic senators in Trump Country who are up for re-election in 2018 voted to confirm almost all of Obama's nominees. For instance, Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., voted to confirm 99 percent of those nominees, as did Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind. Other senators went even further and voted to confirm every single one of Obama's judicial nominees: Sens. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Bob Casey, D-Pa.
Centrist Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., both of whom are up for re-election in 2018 as well, voted with Obama on 95 and 97 percent of nominees, respectively.
Manchin, Heitkamp, and Donnelly were the only Democrats who voted to confirm Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch. In May, not one member of their party voted to confirm Judge Amul Thapar to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. The hearings on Timothy J. Kelly and Trevor McFadden, scheduled for Wednesday, will test how committed these Trump Country Democrats are to their party's strategy of resistance.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.